Parliament to go paperless as Speaker launches Research and Information Week

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The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Aaron Michael Oquaye, has charged stakeholders to ensure that the necessary Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools are deployed in an era of digital system in order to operate a paperless Parliament in the not too distant future.

He made the call during the opening of the 2018 edition of the annual Interdepartmental Research and Information Group (IDRIG) week of Parliament on the theme: 25 years of Parliamentary Democracy: the role of Research and Information.

According to him, 25 years of Ghana’s  Parliamentary democracy is inextricably linked to the country’s history while paying glowing tribute to all who contributed to the rebirth of Parliament which suffered severally as a result of coup d’etats in the past.

He also disclosed that Executive approval is being sought to ensure that the whole Parliament becomes the property of Parliament. This he said will enhance technology delivery including internet connectivity.

The full statement of the Speaker is published here below:

ADDRESS BY THE RT. HON. SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT, PROF. AARON MICHAEL OQUAYE, AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE SECOND EDITION OF THE RESEARCH AND INFORMATION WEEK CELEBRATION BY THE INTER-DEPARTMENTAL RESEARCH AND INFORMATION GROUP (IDRIG) OF PARLIAMENT HELD ON TUESDAY, 17TH JULY, 2018 AT THE JUSTICE D.F. ANNAN AUDITORIUM, JOB 600 BUILDING, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, ACCRA

Mr. Chairman,
Leadership of Parliament,
Clerk-to-Parliament and his Staff,
Distinguished Invited Guests,
The Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I join you with much pleasure to officially open the research and information week celebration of the IDRIG. I am glad this laudable initiative which began last year, aimed at improving the adoption and use of evidence-based information is being sustained.
Fortunate enough, this year’s event coincides with the commemoration of twenty-five years of parliamentary democracy in our dear country. And it comes without surprise that the role of research and information in the discharge of the constitutional mandate of our Parliament within the period, has featured as the theme for the event.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the importance of Parliaments the world over as you all know, is to ensure amongst others, the improvement in the welfare of the citizenry. Achieving this aspiration requires that policies and legislations are grounded on credible evidence-based information.

Indeed, without the adoption and use of credible evidence-based information in our policy formulation and legislative processes, our efforts at maximizing resources at improving our developmental outcomes will be in vain, as whatever that we do with non-factual information will fail to achieve any desirable impact.

It is therefore important that within the Parliamentary polity, the use of evidence-based information in the representational, deliberative and legislative processes is not compromised. And more importantly, conscious efforts should be made at all times to improve the base or sources for the generation of the evidence-based information which I see as a sacrosanct ingredient, the lack of which our work here will flounder.

It is therefore imperative, Hon. Members, the Parliamentary Service Board this time raised the qualification for the recruitment of Research Assistants for MPs and also linked it with those with proven research background. This is to ensure that the core for generating first-hand information for Members are reliable and efficient.
I hope, you will support our action to enable you get the best out of the recruitment drive.

Mr. Chairman, Parliament is embarking on a number of reforms to make our Institution more responsive to the needs and aspirations of our people. The essence, is to make MPs more conscious and proactive to the communities in which they serve. And also give them the needed clout to win the trust of the people. Therefore, MPs should seize at the opportunity is being offered them to use private Member’s bills at addressing nuances within our legislation to better the lot of those they represent. The fall out of this reform and many others in the offing will greatly increase the work load of the Information Service Delivery Departments of the Parliamentary Service which will be one of the critical Departments to be relied on for the successful introduction, development and sustenance of this entire reform agenda.

Against this background, the need for collaboration with other stakeholders in the policy arena such as think-tanks, the academia and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is now critical than ever. I am happy to have been informed that Parliament through the Information Service Delivery Departments have collaborated with the Ghana Statistical Services, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), the Bank of Ghana and several others to mount exhibition on research and information products as part of the week-long celebration.

I encourage the participating institutions to utilise this opportunity to further strengthen the relationship towards the development of a reliable information support to Parliament. After all, the success of the socio-economic development of our country within this democratic dispensation, is a shared responsibility.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us assiduously work together to ensure that credible evidence-based information is available to Parliament and its stakeholders on time. Civil Society Organisations must not only be interested in assessing Parliament with conclusions that thwart the efforts of the august Institution but proffer ideas and make credible information available to support our work.

I urge the Information Service Delivery Departments to be more proactive. Once the Agenda of the House for the Meeting has been published and officially circulated, I expect the Heads of Department to liaise with Experts, think-tanks and academia on the subject matter covered in the Agenda, and organize seminars on the exposition on the intricacies of the legislative proposals for Members. This will facilitate better information and subsequently, informed contribution to debates on the floor of the House.

Distinguished Invited Guests, my observation, however, is that in spite of the provision of budgetary allocations for this activity, hardly do I receive proposals to that effect. I therefore charge the Directors of the research and information departments to pursue this agenda and I assure you of my fullest support and that of the leadership of Parliament.

To conclude, I commend the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and other partners for supporting the Parliament of Ghana and in particular this information services delivery departments in their activities.

I entreat all Members and our invited guests to make time to attend the Seminars and also visit the Exhibition Stands.

I thank you all for your attention and declare the week duly launched.

Thank you.

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